The following is my English translation of an excerpt from “A Soldier from Oman: Memory’s Nectar” by (ret.) Inspector-General Said bin Rashid al Kalbani
Soldiers in a Caravan
A road cutting across our village had an archway that all convoys had to pass through. It was said that there were dogs guarding the village valley. If they heard a convoy passing the valley avoiding the archway, they would run to their masters to wake them up. The masters, in their turn, would come out with their weapons and force the trespassers to pass through the archway and then take from them some items of what they carried as a fine.
Around 1959/1960, 19 people passed by Miskan on their way from Ibri to Khabora. A man on a donkey on his way home from Maqaniyat heard the convoy saying with determination and in a challenging tone that they would bypass the archway and go straight to the valley. Though the idea was faced with opposition, one of them insisted that they would go around the archway despite the Miskan people. This raised the hackles of the man, as he took it to be an insult to him and to his community. He fired his gun in the air as a warning, and started shouting, so everyone could hear him.
The whole village came out, men carrying their guns and women carrying water and dates men needed when they went out. They blocked the valley road, and redirected the convoy to the archway. There was a tussle between the two parties. Equipped with rifles and knives, we took away their Kanad guns, with all their bullets, which we stored under a big sadar tree.
One of us noticed that the type of weapons we stored under the tree belonged to none other than the government. Indeed, it turned out that they were soldiers in civilian dresses. Our people subsequently took them with their camels to a safe place and gave them back their guns and bullets.
This got us into big trouble. All the elders, including the Shaikh(s) of the Bani Kalban, went to Muscat to see Sayyed Ahmad bin Ibrahim al Busaidi and explained to him the circumstances, saying that no offence was meant to the government, and that it was just an instance of misunderstanding. We later knew that the whole affair was referred to Sultan Said bin Taimour, who then issued a pardon for all those involved in the tussle. The whole case was closed, and the road works resumed.
This incident became something of a legend that people narrate even today.